The ultimate makeover: Spaghetti carbonara

The ultimate makeover: Spaghetti carbonara

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(18 ratings)

Prep: 15 mins Cook: 20 mins


Serves 4
Italian comfort food without the calories, this recipe is rich and creamy, yet just one third of the fat

Nutrition and extra info

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal527
  • fat16.1g
  • saturates6.3g
  • carbs70g
  • sugars4.4g
  • fibre5.2g
  • protein29.7g
  • salt1.63g
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  • 85g Parmesan



    Parmesan is a straw-coloured hard cheese with a natural yellow rind and rich, fruity flavour. It…

  • 2 eggs, preferably organic



    The ultimate convenience food, eggs are powerhouses of nutrition, packed with protein and a…

  • 200g frozen peas
  • 350g spaghetti (we used De Cecco)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
    olive oil

    Olive oil

    ol-iv oyl

    Probably the most widely-used oil in cooking, olive oil is pressed from fresh olives. It's…

  • 100g lean back bacon, fat removed, bacon chopped into small pieces
  • 2 plump garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • handful snipped chives


  1. Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil with a pinch of salt. Then get everything ready. Grate the cheese and beat the eggs in a bowl with a little pepper. Cook the peas in boiling water for 2-3 mins, drain and set aside.

  2. Cook the spaghetti to al dente following pack instructions. While the spaghetti is cooking, heat the oil in a large, deep frying or sauté pan. Fry the bacon for several mins until it starts to go crisp. Stir in the garlic and cook briefly until pale brown. Tip in the peas and if the spaghetti isn’t quite ready, keep warm over a very low heat.

  3. When the pasta is done, take the pan with the bacon in off the heat. Lift the spaghetti out of its pan with a pair of tongs and drop it into the frying pan with the garlic, bacon and peas. Mix most of the cheese into the eggs, keeping back a handful of cheese for sprinkling over each serving. Quickly pour in the eggs and cheese, lifting and stirring with the tongs so everything mixes well and the spaghetti gets coated. Ladle in some more of the pasta water, enough to coat the spaghetti and create a bit of sauce in the pan.

  4. Spoon or twirl the pasta into shallow serving bowls using a long pronged fork. Serve immediately with a sprinkling of the reserved cheese, some snipped chives and a grating of black pepper.

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Comments (23)

lisaliggett's picture

Brilliant recipe. Very simple. I used left over gammon. Everyone had second helpings. Will definitely do again.

MrsLB's picture

This is very good and quick to make!!

minibear's picture

Quick, tasty and relatively low fat. First time I've made a carbonara and I will definitely be ma ing this again. Didn't bother with the peas or chives.

gabby203's picture

Added a tablespoon of half fat creme fraiche to make it a little creamier, skipped the chives (can't stand them!), and added a good grating of nutmeg to the egg mixture - Simple and absolutely fab

westy23's picture

Added mushrooms and used parsley instead of chives, as that is all we had - delicious! Even our 6 year old enjoyed it.

jeanniejay's picture

Leave out the peas, add a little left over cooked chicken in small chunks and some mushrooms. Serve with a salad. Lovely - everyone I have made this for loves it, and wont be going back to using cream.

nikkibrooks's picture

My daughter who is 9 made fresh spaghetti to go with this recipe, it was time consuming but worth all her effort the taste was yummy!

desthechef's picture

i made this without the bacon and used peas and asparagus tips for a loudly spring version

cakeanyone's picture

Good, quick, simple recipe. Used gammon instead of bacon just because I had some leftover and added some mushrooms too. Needs a good lot of seasoning and I was naughty and added a good splosh of double cream too (100 ml perhaps)!

davidsk2's picture

Loved this, better than the recipie I tried with cream. Used mushrooms instead of peas.

jenmlp's picture

Plus - I halved the recipe for us two but still used two eggs and think it needed them.

jenmlp's picture

Have made this twice now and the pasta man in the house gives it his approval even though he has said in the past that he doesn't like pasta without 'a sauce'! I made this with cubetti de pancetta pieces instead of bacon and it was delicious. You definitely need to add a good slosh of the pasta water at the end to bring it all together.

lizleicester's picture

I thought this was delicious but the cream was missed by the rest of the family to the extent that they added it as a topping which somewhat defeated the "Ultimate Makeover" aim!

cazzer6161's picture

This was delicious much preferred it to carbonara made with cream. I replaced the peas with mushrooms.

cazzer6161's picture

This was delicious much preferred it to carbonara made with cream. I replaced the peas with mushrooms.

cazzer6161's picture

This was delicious much preferred it to carbonara made with cream. I replaced the peas with mushrooms.

sister8x's picture

All we changed was pecorino cheese instead of parmesan and smoked back bacon. We will definitely cook this dish again possibly leaving out the peas. Delicious, and very easy to do.

Julesworthy's picture

Made it exactly as the recipe said but with a little bit more bacon. Tastes exactly how you'd expect - like light, healthy carbonara! I would definitely make it again, maybe with slightly less spaghetti next time because there was an awful lot of it. It barely fit in the pan!

appleby60's picture

I made this for my husband and 13 year old son, as I have been searching for simple but healthy recipes and they both love pasta. This is great, very simple and quick and they both said it was delicious! I am looking forward to making a veggie option for myself, substituting the ham with mushrooms and a good strong vegetarian cheese as it is difficult to find a really good vegetarian parmesan in the supermarkets near me. Definitely a winner!

spelac's picture

Left out the peas - no need really! Best carbonara I ever had!


Questions (1)

alisonthewsey's picture

Can this be made in advance of a party and then reheated?

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